An airport worker in Nice, France, has been suspended after a picture showing him punching Easyjet passenger holding a baby went viral. The violence erupted Saturday at Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport, where passengers had been waiting 11 hours for a flight for British budget carrier EasyJet to Luton airport outside London.
The incident allegedly occurred when the victim, who was holding a child, voiced a complaint about the delay to an airport worker. A photo circulating on Twitter, posted by witness Arabella Arkwright, shows a man who appears to be dressed as an airport employee throwing a punch. Arkwright told MailOnline that the attack was unprovoked, and that her husband had to hold the attacker back.
“EasyJet is very concerned to see this picture and can confirm the person in the photo is not an easyJet member of staff and does not work for easyJet’s ground handling agents in Nice,” reps for EasyJet said in a statement. “We are urgently taking this up with Nice airport and their special assistance provider Samsic, who we understand the person photographed works for.”
The airline additionally explained that the exceptionally long delay was due to a mechanical issue with the plane and that it provided passengers with refreshment vouchers as they waited for departure.
“The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority,” the airline said. “EasyJet sincerely apologizes for the delay and thanks passengers for their patience.”
The airport said in a statement on Facebook that the police were investigating. “Whatever the circumstances, the airport management firmly condemns this incident and has immediately asked that this staff member to be suspended,” the airport said.
The easyJet flight took off from the Nice airport a few minutes before midnight and landed at 1 a.m. in London – more than 12 hours after its scheduled arrival.